Here are some pics of our church members sharing Jesus with the people of Puno, Peru. In total, 165 people began a personal relationship with Jesus on this trip.
This blog post is written primarily to members of Connection Point Church and secondary to believers anywhere. As you are aware, the Supreme Court decision last Friday redefined marriage in the United States. Many of us prayed that the outcome of the decision would be different. Over the past week, I have seen a wide variety of beliefs and opinions about how Christians should respond to this decision. In light of this new law in the land, I believe it is a great opportunity for the church to clarify the correct beliefs of a Christ Follower. On Sunday, I addressed these topics in a sermon and would like to share a few thoughts from it. If you would like to view or listen to the sermon in it’s entirety, you may do so here.
We exist to glorify God.
Before a Christian responds to anything, he or she should understand our primary purpose in life. This is a meta-theme that is found throughout the entire Bible. Jesus taught His followers to be the light of the world so that everyone who encounters us would give glory to God.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
A Christ Follower must light the way with HUMILITY.
Paul instructs us to “Do all things without grumbling or disputing“. For a Christian, this means that we should light the way with humility when we disagree with others, especially those that do not believe what we believe. Posting an out of context verse or a divisive post only creates grumbling and leads to more disputes. Here is a great principle that any Christ Follower should take note of :
We cannot judge those who are not Christ Followers as if they are Christ Followers.
One of the most arrogant and misdirected responses that we can make is to assume that others are just like us. Even Paul warns the church against this error. As a Christian, I must seek to light the way to Jesus with love and humility to those that do not follow Jesus. It is not profitable to judge a person by a standard they don’t accept.
Let’s say I was walking along a road and met a fellow traveler going in a different direction. If I were to say to the person, “you are going the wrong way, you silly traveler. You’ll never reach my destination on that path…” The other traveler would simply look at me as if I were absurd because he never intended to go my way. It is only after I invite him to come along with me and he decides to go that way that it makes sense for me to expect him to follow the directions that will lead to my destination.
Rather than getting upset that a person is gay and telling them they are on the wrong path, a better way is to invite them to follow Jesus. Serve them in a way that they can’t deny the influence of Jesus in your own life. Only after a person experiences and understands the love of Jesus, will they open their hearts to his rules and will for them. Jesus always began with humility and forgiveness.
A Christ Follower must light the way with love and good works.
Both Jesus and the apostle Paul challenged us to light the world with our actions. Remember that the church should be a glimpse of heaven on earth. When those outside the church look at us, we should reflect the forgiveness and love of God to one another. This means that we must light the way by serving one another. We must love those we disagree with and pray for those with different opinions! We will never lead people to desire the things of God until we apply. Those outside the church should know us by our love, not the things we stand against.
A Christ Follower must light the way with Strong Theology.
I must allow God to tell me how to honor him. I don’t get to decide how to honor God. Consider this example. Imagine I arrive home one day to find that my wife has bought me some peppermint ice cream. She then exclaims, “I love you so much I simply wanted to show you how much I love you”. It may seem like a nice gesture, until you understand that I can’t stand peppermint ice cream. The truth is my wife enjoys peppermint ice cream and so decided to buy it for me. She either knew I didn’t like it and gave it to spite me or she never took the time to find out what ice cream I prefer and her display of love is misguided and innocent, yet selfish. The only way she can truly honor me is to ask me what ice cream I like and then give that to me. (FYI, My wife did surprise me with my favorite ice cream this week, chocolate chip cookie dough!)
When Paul wrote to the church in the city of Philippi, he explains to them that they must hold fast to God’s word, or they have wasted his time. If they don’t honor God in the way that God has instructed them to honor God in the scriptures, they have wasted their time! Only God can tell us how to honor God. Only by APPLYING (not simply knowing) good theology, can we truly honor God.
If we want to light a path that leads us to glorify God, we must obey His Word, especially when we would prefer to honor ourselves. Here is a principle for applying theology in our lives:
If God’s Word is clear, I obey his command. If I am unsure of His Word, I seek to understand the context and meaning of the author and obey the principles I find.
The key to holding to a strong theology, however, is applying our beliefs with love and grace. Our lives should light the way to someone who doesn’t follow Christ. Our beliefs should change our hearts so that we rightly reflect Him to them. Good theology only works when we apply it with grace and love.
I hope this is helpful and remember that the church is the most important agent of truth in the world, so if all else fails, simply love your neighbor as yourself!
What do you do when you are in a dry season? This week’s sermon will give us some great insights to the seasons in life that feel like they are “throwaway” seasons.
As I was preparing for this week, I was reminded of a previous message I taught on this idea. Here is a message I preached a few years back that dealt with a similar idea. Feel free to listen to it if you have the desire.
FACT 5: The Empty Tomb
Roughly 75% of scholars believe this to be historical fact according to Gary Habermas.
3(of many) arguments for the empty tomb.
- The Jerusalem Factor
- Jesus was publicly executed in Jerusalem (uncontroversial) and his resurrection was first claimed there (uncontroversial). This seems unlikely if there is a tomb with Jesus’ body there.
- There are absolutely no Roman or Jewish accounts who point to the tomb or body. It is astounding that this “smoking gun” would have been missed by early critics.
- Nazareth Inscription- It was a capital offense to mess with a tomb. The disciples could have been prosecuted. (picture)
- Clyde Billington has dated it to AD 41, and interpreted it as evidence for Christians preaching the resurrection of Jesus within a decade of his crucifixion.Marta Sordi, Guarducci, Blaiklock, and L.Herrmann, independently, stated the Nazareth Inscription was certain evidence of Jesus’ empty tomb.
- It is my decision [concerning] graves and tombs—whoever has made them for the religious observances of parents, or children, or household members—that these remain undisturbed forever. But if anyone legally charges that another person has destroyed, or has in any manner extracted those who have been buried, or has moved with wicked intent those who have been buried to other places, committing a crime against them, or has moved sepulcher-sealing stones, against such a person, I order that a judicial tribunal be created, just as [is done] concerning the gods in human religious observances, even more so will it be obligatory to treat with honor those who have been entombed. You are absolutely not to allow anyone to move [those who have been entombed]. But if [someone does], I wish that [violator] to suffer capital punishment under the title of tomb-breaker.
- Enemy Testimony:
- Only one competing theory during the next 100 years.
- The only opposing theory is that the disciples stole the body.
- 3 different sources claim the disciples did it. This is big because it is evidence that the tomb is empty.
- What that means: The only counter evidence was- “Yes there is an empty tomb, but we know why..”
- 3 sources make this claim: Matthew, Tertullian, and Justin Martyr
- No one offers any hint that they knew what happened to his body.
- Women Testimony
The primary witnesses are women. All four gospels have women as the primary witnesses to the empty tomb.
- -Sooner let the words of the Law be burnt than delivered to women. (Talmud, Sotah 19a)
- – But let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity and boldness of their sex, nor let servants be admitted to give testimony on account of the ignobility of their soul; since it is probable that they may not speak truth, either out of hope of gain, or fear of punishment. (Josephus, Antiquities 4.8.15)3″
- –Any evidence which a woman [gives] is not valid (to offer), also they are not valid to offer. This is equivalent to saying that one who is Rabbinically accounted a robber is qualified to give the same evidence as a woman. (Talmud, Rosh Hashannah 1.8)
- – Celsus- 2nd century: Celsus, a Greek philosopher who lived in the second century A.D.,
- Christianity can’t be true, because the written accounts of the resurrection are based on the testimony of women—and we all know women are hysterical.
– why not have Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea find the tomb. They were credible.
– This is what we call embarrassing testimony.
Disciples stole the body-
- If there were guards there, you have to explain how they got it past the guards whose lives were at stake.
- You have to explain why they got excited about a dead body.
- Why did the disciples die for what they knew to be a lie.
- Why would Paul and James convert if they never saw a resurrected Jesus. (Maybe one would hallucinate, but both- including his brother?)
- Why would so many Jewish people, who would find it blasphemous to call a man a God–They don’t even write the name of God, let alone worship a man. But they did it in a moment.
- Not to mention that the disciples breaking Jewish piety laws, which seems out of character with what we know of the disciples
Serving gives us purpose. I believe that with all of my heart. If you are going through a time of struggle or a time of wandering, serving is often the antidote to a tough season. Last week our church was able to participate in the City of Plano’s “Love Where You Live” initiative. I love seeing our church come together and make a difference in someone’s life. I also love learning new skills that I would never have learned on my own, like installing siding to a house.
Here are three things that happen when you serve:
1. Your perspective gets bigger. I believe the most joyful people are people who view life from a big picture perspective, not a single moment. Serving others lets you see that there are other people in this world that have struggles or needs that you could impact.
2. You become less selfish. Serving someone else will always make you less selfish. Selfishness is a disease that leads to many vices. C.S. Lewis considered selfishness or pride as the source of all other sins. Serving others will always move us away from sin and towards love and forgiveness.
3. You get happier! Serving others leads to a more joyful life. You will feel a longer, deeper satisfaction after you have served someone than if you simply used that time for yourself.
So I just want to give a quick shout out to those who served and encourage you to serve someone today! Just my two cents…